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WIPO Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired Prepared by Judith Sullivan, Consultant, Copyright and Public Affairs.

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Presentation on theme: "WIPO Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired Prepared by Judith Sullivan, Consultant, Copyright and Public Affairs."— Presentation transcript:

1 WIPO Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired Prepared by Judith Sullivan, Consultant, Copyright and Public Affairs

2 Judith Sullivan 2 The challenge for visually impaired people Ordinary printed text is inaccessible Commercial large print and audio books help some but titles are limited Electronic publications in principle could be accessible but often are not

3 Judith Sullivan 3 Is there just one solution to give access? No. The way in which visually impaired people can access the printed word is very diverse.

4 Judith Sullivan 4 Visually impaired people need to read for reasons just as diverse as for sighted people. Eg reading:- when studying - for leisure - at work - to participate in hobbies

5 Judith Sullivan 5 The challenge for me! Identifying relevant international conventions and treaties Identifying exceptions in national laws Identifying law relevant to import and export of accessible copies

6 Judith Sullivan 6 Why limit the Study to visually impaired people? WIPO chose the scope WBU lobbying on copyright No real reason to exclude others But needs and so solutions may differ

7 Judith Sullivan 7 What else the Study doesnt do?

8 Judith Sullivan 8 The Study doesnt address things that also apply to sighted people For example, where: a book is in the wrong language a book has not been published in a particular country

9 Judith Sullivan 9 And the Study doesnt address non-copyright issues For example: rehabilitation for late onset visual impairment – learning Braille etc lack of resources to buy readily available accessible copies

10 Judith Sullivan 10 But its not that simple Issues of cost of accessible copies do arise in some national exceptions Perhaps its not fair to leave out consideration of visually impaired peoples income levels completely

11 Judith Sullivan 11 Whats in the Study - 1 An attempt to draw together earlier conclusions about exceptions permitted by international IP treaties and conventions Really difficult for exceptions for visually impaired people given the range of rights and protected works that might be covered

12 Judith Sullivan 12 Whats in the study - 2 Analysis of national exceptions found – analysed against the same criteria to find similarities and differences Really difficult to ensure up-to-date law examined and interpretation accurate

13 Judith Sullivan 13 Whats in the Study - 3 Analysis of distribution and importation rights to try and decide what cross border movement of accessible copies might be possible Really difficult for all the reasons above and more!

14 Judith Sullivan 14 Whats in the Study - 4 A number of case studies showing problems and successes with giving visually impaired people access to the written word Really inspiring regarding the successes given the difficulties

15 Judith Sullivan 15 Whats in the Study - 5 Analysis of the copyright problems and possible solutions in the light of the legal frameworks and case studies explored Hopefully the part that is of most use to WIPO Member States

16 Judith Sullivan 16 Analysis of the problems and solutions - introduction Tries to raise some important points to inform future discussions and action Dont believe need total accuracy in the earlier analysis of national laws to be a valid starting point

17 Judith Sullivan 17 The international framework IP treaties and conventions do not require exceptions in this area Conditions applying to exceptions benefiting visually impaired people may be complicated

18 Judith Sullivan 18 Solutions to deliver exceptions for visually impaired people Rely on accepted need for balance with each country making own decisions Explore obligations from UDHR/related initiatives, and relationship with copyright A new IP convention requiring exceptions, or even rights

19 Judith Sullivan 19 Are exceptions necessary? Maybe not if material is published in accessible formats Maybe not if converting to accessible formats is readily licensed But are these likely to be comprehensive solutions in the foreseeable future?

20 Judith Sullivan 20 But can exceptions ever be the only answer? Probably not - resources for activity under exceptions likely to be limited So built in accessibility as material is published may be the ideal And so may be better if exceptions are designed to encourage this

21 Judith Sullivan 21 Other exceptions Not covered by this Study Could be helpful but unlikely to be comprehensive But clarification of self-help copying by or for individual visually impaired person helpful – what is legal needs to be clear

22 Judith Sullivan 22 National exceptions for the benefit of visually impaired people Found in fewer than half of WIPO member States Wide variations in scope Seem to be less common in developing countries

23 Judith Sullivan 23 Possible conditions in exceptions

24 Judith Sullivan 24 1. Defining the end beneficiary Satisfies the 3-step test requirement that the exception is a special case? May be better than, say, a limitation to special accessible formats Functional rather than medical definition seems to work better

25 Judith Sullivan 25 2. Defining what works can be used Possible options: - the type of copyright work - whether the work has been published - whether the exception only applies when the work is not available in an accessible format

26 Judith Sullivan 26 Relationship with commercially published accessible formats When, if at all, is activity under an exception in competition with what is commercially available acceptable? Must recognise diverse needs of visually impaired people, eg commercial large print should not rule out other formats needed

27 Judith Sullivan 27 3. Profit/non-profit making activity Non-commercial test might apply to: - the body acting under the exception - charges for accessible copies made - use of accessible formats by visually impaired people

28 Judith Sullivan 28 4. Permitted/restricted acts Many current exceptions seem limited to making copies, ie not infringing the reproduction right Reasonable activity to supply accessible copies to visually impaired people could involve other restricted acts

29 Judith Sullivan 29 5. Defining who may act Implied by definition of activity permitted Limited to named/registered/designated bodies Defined by narrow category such as disability organisations Defined by broad category

30 Judith Sullivan 30 6. Defining accessible formats National laws vary - Braille only to no limitation More sensitivity for formats which are not special – eg the same as commercially available large print and audio books DAISY digital book very flexible but is it a special format?

31 Judith Sullivan 31 Given diversity of needs may be better to not rule out any type of accessible format and use a functional definition for permitted formats, eg one that gives access equivalent to that enjoyed by a sighted person

32 Judith Sullivan 32 7. Compulsory licence/exception Majority of countries have pure exceptions but need to look at scope of exception too Remuneration to right holders could be for some types of activity only Half-way house where non-remunerated exception could be overridden by licensing

33 Judith Sullivan 33 The 3-step test Quite common as an extra limitation in national exceptions But how does this limit activity to help visually impaired people in practice? Could debate what is the most helpful way to define exceptions in national laws

34 Judith Sullivan 34 Relationship with contracts Should users enjoy just exceptions to rights or should they have rights too? Does the digital environment make this a more important issue?

35 Judith Sullivan 35 Other differences Quite a few – some restrictive some helpful to users But are differences between countries really justified? –case studies suggest diverse needs of visually impaired people everywhere

36 Judith Sullivan 36 Accessible formats: export and import Would increase access for visually impaired people – may be easy to agree this much What can currently be done and what might be fair may be much harder to agree

37 Judith Sullivan 37 What is this about? Sending accessible copies direct to visually impaired people in another country? Sending to intermediaries first? Sending master copies to intermediaries? Online dissemination of accessible formats when nothing physical is sent?

38 Judith Sullivan 38 More questions Does it matter if: What is sent has not been published in the receiving country? Where a different version was published? Where exceptions in the sending and receiving countries are different?

39 Judith Sullivan 39 Export and import involves the laws of two countries – and to stay legal it may be necessary for the exporting country to know what will happen in the importing country and the importing country to know what happened in the exporting country

40 Judith Sullivan 40 Export and import: solutions National legislation Licensing agreements: – at national level – at international level International agreement on legislation: – guidance/draft laws – treaty/convention

41 Judith Sullivan 41 Publishers e-files Of great value to those making accessible copies but greatly damaging to publishers in the wrong hands Not strictly a copyright issue, but could legislate to give access Building in trust may be essential

42 Judith Sullivan 42 Digital rights management Very important issue in the digital world Not looked at in detail in this Study DRMs can help enable as well as prevent and restrict access so can they deliver exceptions for visually impaired people?

43 Judith Sullivan 43 Exceptions as the only solution? The World Blind Union campaigns for visually impaired people to have access to the same book, on the same day and at the same price as sighted people – exceptions do not deliver that.

44 Judith Sullivan 44 Other solutions Technology can both prevent and provide access Encourage understanding, information sharing and collaboration to increase secure built-in access to the written word for visually impaired people

45 Judith Sullivan 45 Technology provides more and more opportunities to deliver built in accessibility. Exceptions to copyright can help where this does not happen.

46 Judith Sullivan 46 Conclusion Visually impaired people deserve a right to read equivalent to that enjoyed by people without an impairment Hope that the Study is useful to help take the debate forward

47 Thank you for listening Judith Sullivan

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